Monday, July 28, 2008

I don't really feel any older.

So I'm 25. My birthday was on Saturday, and I'm now 25. I don't really feel any older. Saturday morning, I slept in. When I woke up, Brad had already gotten back with my favorite breakfast items - 2 sausage, egg & cheese McGriddles, 2 ham, egg & cheese croissants from the donut shop, and 2 big, gooey cinnamon rolls from the donut shop. Yum. He had also been out garage-sale-ing, and had bought a whole bunch of old Disney VHS tapes. I'm starting a collection. So then we sat and watched my favorite Disney movie, Beauty & the Beast. After that, we got up and got dressed, and headed into Austin. My birthday present from him was a $200 shopping spree. He was my chauffeur and purse-holder for the day. I dragged him all over Austin. One of the things I was looking for was a new pair of black sandals, to go with the dress I was wearing. It turns out that the DSW in North Austin has closed down. Crap. So we went to Shoe Pavillion, where they don't carry anything above a ladies size 10 shoe. I wear an 11.5 wide, but can sometimes get away with an 11, and usually a 12. But, no luck at any of the stores we went to. They discriminate against girls with big feet, big boobs, and big heads. I have all three. Shoes and bras are very hard to find, and forget finding a ladies hat if you have an abnormally large head (It all runs in my family). Bastards.

So after unsuccessful shoe shopping, we went to Ross and I bought new towels for my bathroom. They are a nice sage green, and they do not have that annoying woven band at the end. You know, the one that always shrinks more than the rest of the towel (it's called differential shrinkage). That band is absent. Now my towels fold nicely. Yay! I bagged up the old, mismatched towels this morning, and they are sitting in the donate pile. Woo hoo!

After shopping all afternoon, we went to The Boiling Pot on 6th Street, where we met up with my Mom & step-dad, and my Aunt Jan and her best friend Linda. First we had a few dozen raw oysters, with crackers and horseradish. Then we had a good cajun seafood boil with shrimp, crawdad, blue crab, stone crab, snow crab, king crab, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. They boil all this stuff in one big pot, then dump it out in the center of the table (it's covered in butcher paper) and everybody digs in. No dishes or silverware, just crab mallets and your hands and a roll of paper towels. Oh, and a plastic bib. It's great fun. Expensive, but fun.

Then we came home and watched TV. Yesterday, I bought groceries, and school supplies for my two nephews. Last night we had steaks on the grill. Now I need to go write thank-you notes to my Mom, Jan, and Linda, for the gifts they brought, and for coming to dinner in the first place.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I don't like Banana Bread

Let me start off by saying that I do not like banana bread in general. I know I'm weird, I just don't like it. Having said that, this recipe is excellent. I only made a half batch, as I only had 3 bananas, but I did not cut the vanilla, cinnamon, or salt in half. The rest of the ingredients I did cut in half. I also added a little extra flour (~1T) as the batter seemed too runny. I tasted the batter, and it was everything I could do to bake it, because the batter was so tasty. I followed the directions otherwise, except that I subbed in sour cream for the creme fraiche, and baked it in a bundt pan. Then I turned it out of the pan and topped it with a glaze made form 3T milk, 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. cinnamon, and enough powdered sugar to make it a glaze consistency. Excellent. I'm about to go back for another piece while it is still warm.
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banana bread

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 oz), toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour

Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting... again.

On Friday, 7/18/08, I finally got a positive OPK, so I called the clinic and scheduled the IUI for the next morning. Of course services are 20% more expensive on the weekends, but whatever. Saturday morning we got up at 5:45 so I could get ready and make it to the clinic by 8:00 for the hand-off of the little brown bag. Of course, we don't live within an hour of the clinic, so there was no collecting it at home. We had to drive up there and let him go use their facilities. Then we went window shopping for two hours while they did the sperm washing. At 10:30, I went in for the IUI while Brad napped in the truck. The doctor did the IUI, and I must say, her technique is flawless. Didn't feel a thing. I laid flat on my back for 15 minutes, and we were on our way. We drove to Marble Falls to visit Brad's parents (the most boring people in the world), and spent Saturday night there. I spent most of my time knitting and napping, while they went on and on about shit we couldn't care less about. His parents are both about 70, and have decided that they are old, so they sit at home watching TV, and bickering with each other. That's all. They don't do anything else, or go out anywhere, or visit anybody. Blech. My grandma is 74, and is far from being old. She is always keeping her great-grandkids, or volunteering at the elementary school, or volunteering to drive the "old" ladies from the local nursing home to their doctor and hairdresser appointments, or going out somewhere with her boyfriend. It's like she refuses to get old. And she is one of the most fun people to talk to. She's smart and funny, and sharp as a whip. I would much rather go visit my Grandma, if given the option.

So after visiting his parents, we went and visited Brad's best friend Jay, and his wife Misty. Misty is finally pregnant, after years of trying, and lots of fertility treatments. I'm happy for her, and hopefully I will get pregnant soon, too. For now, I'm back in the 2ww, and I hate waiting. Patience is not one of my strong suits. I may take forever to make up my mind about something, but once I do, I want it right then. Oh well. By nature, this is primarily a waiting game. But nobody ever said I have to like it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ready or Not... we come. After finding out that the doctor does recommend IUI, the next day I called and talked to my nurse. She told me that the IUI would cost $350 ($180 for sperm washing, $170 for the insemination), plus the $150 each for the infectious disease screening, for a total of $650 this cycle, not counting the Clomid and two $35 co-pays. So, I'm going back and forth in my head, trying to figure out what we are going to do, when I think to ask what the chances of me getting pregnant with either method are. First, she tells me that for Clomid with intercourse, my chances of getting pregnant in any given month are 1.5%, because of Brad's low numbers. She then tells me that the Clomid / IUI raises those chances to 7-8%. For me, that made the choice obvious. Here we go with IUI #1. Fortunately, my insurance is willing to pay for the IDS, and my Mom, the co-signer on my truck was nice enough to say that I can get an extension on my truck payment, which pushes that payment to the end of the contract and gives me a break this month. With that help, we will be able to do it this month. Hopefully we will not need to do it again next month.

I went for my HSG on Friday, and got the results yesterday - my tubes are clear! At least that is good news. Brad's IDS results came back, and he's clear, so that's good, too. I had an ultrasound yesterday, as well, and my left ovary is the high achiever this month, with 3 follicles at 13, 14, & 16 mm. The right ovary has one follicle at 11mm. Slacker.

So everything is looking good so far, and she says I will probably ovulate in the next three or four days.

My mood this cycle is not nearly as good as last month, though. I don't feel particularly optimistic, but maybe that will keep me from getting my hopes up so much. We'll see.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Decision Time

Last night as I was plugging in my phone, I noticed that I had a missed call and a new voicemail. I checked it, and it was the doctor's office. The message said that they do recommend switching to IUI, since Brad's numbers were low all around. The problem is, if we switch to IUI, my insurance stops paying. We're broke right now (from all the remodeling), and it will be difficult to scrape up the money. We could wait and see if intercourse will get the job done, and if not, try IUI next month, when we *may* have more money. But it will still cost the same, or more, since my yearly deductible will be reset either in August or September. I also start back to work in late August, and missing work for this stuff makes it even more difficult. I'm waiting to hear back from the clinic about how much the IUI costs. We will also both have to get an infectious disease screening done, and if insurance won't cover that, it's another $150 each. I'm also scheduled for an HSG tomorrow, and I don't know how much that will cost me. I think insurance will cover it, but I don't know how much. I'm just super frustrated and stressed out right now, because I don't know what to do. It could still not work, and we might have to do it again next month anyway.

This is me right now:
I'm so frustrated! Grrrrr! Why does this have to be so hard? It hardly seems fair... if only I had a crack pipe or a prom dress, maybe I could get knocked up...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thus Far in Round #2

On 7/3/08, I started again with CD1. The next day I went in for a baseline ultrasound to check for cysts. There was one 10mm x 7mm cyst on my left ovary, but it wasn't big enough to make us scrap the cycle, thank goodness. I'm still on 100mg of Clomid, days 3-7. I'm scheduled for a HSG on Friday, 7/11/08, so both Brad and I are on a preventive 7-day course of Doxycycline. We got the results back for Brad's semen analysis, and most of the numbers are lower than normal. Nothing to cause a huge amount of alarm, but not great, either. I'm still waiting to hear back on whether the Dr. recommends that we switch to IUI or stick with intercourse. Hopefully she'll say intercourse, because insurance stops paying if we switch to IUI. She did say that if it should progress to IVF, ICSI would be recommended, because the morphology was the lowest of the numbers. Not that we'll ever be able to afford IVF, since insurance won't cover it. Bastards. On Monday, 7/14/08, I am scheduled for another ultrasound to check the follicles. This shit is *so* not fun. Blech!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Diablo III

Yay! Finally - Diablo 3. No release date yet, but I'm excited about it.
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Diablo III Announced !!!!!
PARIS, France – June 28, 2008 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today revealed Diablo® III, the newest entry in its critically acclaimed action role-playing-game franchise. The announcement was made during the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment® Worldwide Invitational at the Porte de Versailles Convention Centre in Paris, France. A cinematic trailer and an extended gameplay demonstration with commentary from the development team introduced the game to the thousands of players in attendance.

Diablo III will feature a custom 3D-graphics engine to render lush indoor and outdoor areas of Sanctuary with a high level of detail and vivid special effects. The game’s physics-enhanced environments will be interactive and destructible, offering traps and obstacles that create added danger for players and monsters alike. These elements, along with a new quest system and random scripted events, will be integrated into the game’s random-level generator,
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